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Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 34,018

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Birds at sea! Between Tampa and Cozumel, Mexico

We just got back from our cruise from Tampa to Cozumel and back. We didn't see many birds of course - a few sea gulls and terns close to the coasts, most of them in Tampa Bay. But we had two sightings that we are puzzled about.

The first was during the nights - tiny little birds flitting around catching insects attracted by the ship's lights. We saw them several nights, pretty late, but early on the morning we we docking at Cozumel one landed on the rail of the next door balcony. I pored through our bird books - and now that we are home, online - and I think it was a female tree swallow.

I have to think that they have colonized the ship! Before we arrived at Cozumel two young women asked us (since we were wearing some of bird shirts) what they should do with a chick they had found on their balcony, so there must be nests on the ship. None of the ship's crew knew anything about birds and didn't care.

The other sighting was in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. I didn't see it but my husband saw a large bird coasting with the ship. He first thought it was an albatross but by the time he called my attention to it, it was out of sight - too bad since I was carrying my camera and might have gotten a shot of it.

When we got back he searched our bird books and decided it was NOT an albatross so we searched online. We think it might have been a black capped petrel or diablotín (or “little devil”) - which would have been very significant. They are very rare, nest in only a few locations in the mountains of Hispaniola, and mostly cruise the skies in the Caribbean and above the Gulf Stream east of the southern US (the yellow spots are their known nesting areas):

Their range does extend to the southern tip of Cuba where Hurricane Michael hit very hard so maybe the one my husband saw was blown out of his normal paths?

Lost THIRTY pounds since last year!

Last year at this time weighed 287. I was headed to an aortic valve replacement, followed by the removal of my left kidney.

After the kidney operation I couldn't hold food down for four days and then while I still had no appetite I cut my food intake and lost 27 pounds while I did my cardio rehab physical therapy. I then signed up for a local gym but made the mistake of taking one of their balance classes. That pushed the L5 vertebrae which had been damaged over 35 years ago to being unstable and impinging on the nerves to my legs.

I stopped exercising - I couldn't even sit without discomfort - while I went to the best local back doctor for diagnosis. A month wait for the first appointment, six weeks for the MRI, and six more weeks to go back for the diagnosis while I lost all the conditioning from my earlier exercise and gained fourteen pounds.

On Aug. 27 the surgeon told me I have to get down to 230 before he can operate. It is due to a limitation in the length of the instruments he uses for the minimally invasive procedure, not any prejudice of his. That day I weighed 273 pounds. He tried to sell me on a meal replacement plan his practice sells, but after looking at the details I found it to be expensive ($400 per person per month), not nutritionally sound, and something I would not be able to stick with. Aside from that I was concerned about how the high protein, no carb diet would load my single remaining kidney.

I'd signed up for MyFitnessPal.com before the heart surgery but I had not gone back to using it because I had been losing weight. So that night I went back to using the program. At first I was trying to stay under 1500 calories a day, with good success, but I had set a goal to lose the weight by the end of the year. So I dropped my goal to 1000-1200 calories a day.

I have not had a problem staying under 1200 calories. Mornings I have home made muffins (mostly banana spice) with a fruit cup; lunch, a half sandwich (pimento cheese or tuna), dinner is generally home cooked, under 300 calories, and two or three snacks. I get hungry but I am not hungry all the time plus I have enough energy to do what I need to do.

The snacks are usually a "magic" chocolate shake - 1 tbspn cocoa, 2 packets Splenda, 1 teaspoon Benefiber, 1 scoop chocolate flavored protein powder, and 1 cup of ice (with 1/2 tsp instant coffee if I want a boost) blended in my ancient blender until it is smooth - one ounce of a good cheddar cheese, or a frozen fruit bar (Outshine or Whole Fruit).

I use MyFitnessPal to check my recipes so I can change low cal ingredients for higher ones and check portions. Since I mostly eat at home, it is essential that I be able to calculate calories in my own cooking and this makes it easy.

This morning I was down to 256 pounds! Only 26 pounds to go by the first of the years!

Last week I went to the pain management clinic associated with the back doctor's practice and got a nerve block (steroid shot). Hopefully this will let me go back to doing at least cardio workouts on the treadmill. Adding in exercise should accelerate my weight loss. I'm already ahead of the curve that MyFitnessPal's two pounds a week maximum goal allows. Burning an extra 3-500 calories should help a lot!

KAVANAUGH! - Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Missed this last week but it is still great!

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